Even the most well-intentioned of us make mistakes when it comes to keeping our homes decluttered and organized. We may not notice, but professional organizers sure do! They are the experts, after all, and have the training and experience to recognize the areas of your home or your life that could use some help.
1. Not Decluttering Before Organizing
Organized clutter is still clutter! Before tackling an area of your home for organizing—whether it’s the pantry or your walk-in closet—do some major editing and paring down. You’ll have a good pile of stuff to donate (see #5, though), some to throw away or recycle, and what’s left should be the items you like, will use, and need. Now you can group them, organize them, and decide if you need specific storage solutions for any of them. Organizing unedited items may leave you feeling frustrated and unaccomplished.
2. Buying Organizing and Storage Solutions First
It’s so easy to watch a few episodes of Home Edit or Marie Kondo, then buy a heap of beautiful containers, bins, and shelf dividers. We totally get it—you were inspired! But hold up, because buying all that without first taking measurements, assessing your storage needs, and deciding on what will go where will actually lead to more clutter and time wasted. Edit down the area you are working on first, and then you’ll have a more accurate idea of what you truly need to buy.
3. Not Using Labels
It’s awesome that you got your files organized and your garage bins whittled down to a few stacked columns! But if you have no idea what’s inside each one and still need to open them to find out, then you need to take it up a notch and add labels. Labels make your stuff easier to find and lets you know where to put items away. We can’t say enough about how much we love label makers!
4. Not Grouping Items
Group and store household items together by their type and usage. Grouping examples could be: paper products, utility items (bulbs, batteries, small tools, measuring tape), bakeware and baking tools, gift-wrapping necessities, video games and accessories. This makes it easier to find and store your household items. It also streamlines your tasks and activities so you don’t have to go all over the house to get the things you need.
5. Letting Donations Pile Up
How wonderful that you have pared down your closets and kitchen to just the essentials, and now have many boxes and bags ready for donation! Have you actually taken them in, though; or are they still piled in a corner of your home? Don’t let your goodwill devolve into clutter. Load them into your car so you can take them to your local donation center next time you’re out on errands. If you’re doing some major home decluttering, try a service like Ridwell that collects the items from your house.
6. Holding Onto Things That Should Be Recycled
That really nice box from Harry & David. Those cool divided boxes your wine club bottles came in. That stack of catalogs you haven’t had a chance to look through since November. These are the kinds of things you really don’t need taking up space and you will likely never use, so do yourself and the Earth a huge favor and just recycle them.
7. Relying On A Storage Unit
Using your storage unit as the default stashing spot for items that have no place in your home is a band-aid you need to pull. Almost 10% of Americans rent a storage unit, and 67% of these storage renters live in a single-family home with a garage. Say goodbye to that storage unit and save yourself up to $1,100 annually, while also bringing down the amount of items in your life.
Keep these tips in mind and your next decluttering and organizing project should be a success! Don’t aim for Instagram-ready perfection—your household’s needs will be different from others’ and suited to your lifestyle. If it ever feels overwhelming, you can always contact our experts for support!